The snow, the decorations, the traditions, the get togethers, the excitement, the surprises we leave on peoples door step, the music the stories and the Savior. Tonight we finished reading "The Christmas Jar" (how could we not, we had only three chapters left?). We started it about a week ago and have been reading a chapter a night (sometimes more, depending on how early or late we started) and it has been the high light of the day since we started it. We have all looked forward to evening story time. Tonight we started on chapter twelve, intending to read three chapters. But when we finished fifteen, everyone begged for more, so we went on....and on....all the way to the end. What a wonderful and heart felt story it was.
I finally uploaded the pictures of the gingerbread house. It isn't anything spectacular, but we sure did have fun making it. Everyone decorated a side. As you can see, the roof broke as I was holding it, waiting for it to dry. So we "glued" the pieces back together and made it work.
We got our tree!
Our friends told us about a place here in our town that had trees much cheaper ($20 vs. $25) than the ones at Gooleys. We thought....Great! It's local, cheaper and will take less time to go get the tree. But when we were in the van, on the way there we heard the kids talking about the great sleeding hill at Gooleys (Caleb had remembered his sled). We told them that we weren't going there this year, we were going somewhere different. "Nooooooo!" Came the reply from four voices behind us. "We have to go to Gooleys!!! It's where we always go!"
Traditions are important. Every year since we have lived here, we have gone to Gooley's Tree Farm in search of the perfect tree. So we first stop at the home of the Gooleys to pick up a saw, then head off to whichever direction our instincts take us. Yes, my friends....finding the perfect tree in a tree farm is indeed an art form....which we are still trying to master. We are only on our fifth year. So everyone goes separate ways and finds their favorite. We then wait at "our" tree for the rest of the family to gather round to judge our tree. We then trudge through the snow to the next, and the next until all of the chosen trees have been judged by all members of the family. After we all agree on one tree, we drag it down to the Gooley's house to be squeezed through the thing that puts the plastic mesh around it (I call this the birth canal, explaining to my children that they missed out on that experience, so watch the tree to get an idea of what it is like.) While Mike and Mr. Gooley tie the tree to the roof of our van, the kids and I gather in the hut (I can't remember what it is actually called....a "yurk?") hot cider, hot cocoa and cookies that the Gooleys so generously provide for all of their faithful customers. Oh, and if you have lost a glove, scarf or mitten this year or in years past, you can find them hanging inside, waiting for their rightful owner to reclaim them. So....Gooleys it was and Gooleys it will always be.
Here it is! The Winning One! The Chosen Tree. The Le Sapin grown just for us! It is the biggest, (8' to be exact) thickest tree we have ever had. So, we brought it home, waited for all the snow to melt off of it, then decorated it Sunday after church.